Sunday, July 11, 2010

Augustinian Confraternity of the Holy Eucharist


It's a thought I've been having recently about aiding my spiritual development, and perhaps that of other men as well. I used to dream about this kind of thing all the time when I was younger. Now my imagination has become so flaccid. I was thinking about a confraternity devoted to meditation and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A confraternity or sodality is defined as "a voluntary association of the faithful, established and guided by competent ecclesiastical authority for the promotion of special works of Christian charity or piety." (See Catholic Encyclopedia, 1917)

The relevant questions are: What would it be like? How would it fulfill its goals? Why have it at all, rather than nothing?

I don't really have more than vague thoughts about these things. I would imagine that it would be a semi-organized group of men committed to certain spiritual exercises (certain prayers, etc.), governed by a certain spitituality, in this case Augustinian. The question is, how would it be related to the Rule of St. Augustine? Not sure. Give me time to think about that one.

I would imagine that the confraternity would be composed of laymen and meet once a week for prayer and adoration. It would be something like a third order, but perhaps of lesser obligation and stability? It would focus on the writings of St. Augustine, the spiritual, not theoretical works. Its primary tasks would be penance for self, other, Church and world, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and reading / teaching about our spiritual master.

I'll continue to think and to pray about this. I welcome your two cents as well...


  1. Hi Colin: I think you're on to something. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, especially by men, is much needed, especially if the church and society in general are to build the sort of civilization envisioned by John Paul II. A priest I used to know once commented on the preponderance of women at weekday Mass and various parish functions and asked: "Where have all the men gone?" Something is definitely amiss when men in the prime of life, busy though they might be, are conspicuous in the life of the local church largely by their absence.

    My two cents worth...

  2. This reminds of that visiting priest who came to St. Hedwig when I was attending the Academy, sometime in the fall of 2008. His order seemed to be devoted to promotion of Perpetual Adoration.

    I think this is a wonderful idea, one which seems to hearken back to the heart of traditional Catholic piety, one which I remember reading of while I was discovering Catholicism several years ago.

    What is really attractive, as Michael has commented, is the gathering of men around the Sacrament: in a time and in a culture of ours where sacramental life is often regarded as unmasculine and/or negligible for the needs of daily life.

    I am interested in what you think of for this group.

  3. I mean, any type of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is good, of course. But I'd like it to be very relaxed, that is, not too rigid, and thus not bound by the regulations of any other pre-existing confraternity. If the men agreed to come together once a week, as much as they were able (otherwise, in private, on their own when they weren't able) to read and pray over the works of Saint Augustine, prayer the Penitential Pslams for the forgiveness of sins (as St. Augustine used to), and just adore the Lord and discern His will in prayer.
    Eventually you'd need ecclesiastical approval, but until then just see where the Spirit leads. I'm sure you'd need some minimal 'promises' of how you're going to live as a member of the Confraternity, but that can come with time.
    I want it to fill in a difference niche in the Church than I see being filled as yet. And, yes, I want it to be just men. So, I don't want it modelled on any other existing sodality.
    Let's keep thinking and praying.

  4. I think that dave would be interested if it wasn't on a Tuesday or Thursday. I would certainly be game for him to participate. In fact, it just sounds like his three years in seminary! He is all for praying with other men; not gabbing with other men or listening to other men talk on and on and on. He likes silent retreats and the confraternity sounds like it could be a bit of a weekly mini-silent retreat. I'll mention it to him when he unplugs from his iPod and marking and phones from TO.

  5. I had no idea he was three years in the seminary!

    Anyway, yeah, I think we have something to work toward here.

  6. I don't think that many people do know that he spent so long in the seminary. He actually received a BA in philosophy during that time. He then went on to a BCom and then a BED. All in all that's BA, BCOM and BED - no wonder he sleeps so well.

  7. He sleeps so well on account of his wonderful family!